Type III Secretion System of Phytopathogenic Bacterium Pseudomonas syringae : From Gene to Function

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Title: Type III Secretion System of Phytopathogenic Bacterium Pseudomonas syringae : From Gene to Function
Author: Li, Chun-Mei
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Graduate School in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (GSBM), University of Helsinki
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2007-03-28
Language: en
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-3784-9
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: The type III secretion system (T3SS) is an essential requirement for the virulence of many Gram-negative bacteria which infect plants, animals and men. Pathogens use the T3SS to deliver effector proteins from the bacterial cytoplasm to the eukaryotic host cells, where the effectors subvert host defenses. The best candidates for directing effector protein traffic are the bacterial type III-associated appendages, called needles or pili. In plant pathogenic bacteria, the best characterized example of a T3SS-associated appendage is the HrpA pilus of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. The components of the T3SS in plant pathogens are encoded by a cluster of hrp (hypersensitive reaction and pathogenicity) genes. Two major classes of T3SS-secreted proteins are: harpin proteins such as HrpZ which are exported into extracellular space, and avirulence (Avr) proteins such as AvrPto which are translocated directly to the plant cytoplasm. This study deals with the structural and functional characterization of the T3SS-associated HrpA pilus and the T3SS-secreted harpins. By insertional mutagenesis analysis of HrpA, we located the optimal epitope insertion site in the amino-terminus of HrpA, and revealed the potential application of the HrpA pilus as a carrier of antigenic determinants for vaccination. By pulse-expression of proteins combined with immuno-electron microscopy, we discovered the Hrp pilus assembly strategy as addition of HrpA subunits to the distal end of the growing pilus, and we showed for the first time that secretion of HrpZ occurs at the tip of the pilus. The pilus thus functions as a conduit delivering proteins to the extracellular milieu. By using phage-display and scanning-insertion mutagenesis methods we identified a conserved HrpZ-binding peptide and localized the peptide-binding site to the central domain of HrpZ. We also found that the HrpZ specifically interacts with a host bean protein. Taken together, the current results provide deeper insight into the molecular mechanism of T3SS-associated pilus assembly and effector protein translocation, which will be helpful for further studies on the pathogenic mechanisms of Gram-negative bacteria and for developing new strategies to prevent bacterial infection.
Subject: biotieteet
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